International Nurses Day: Reflecting on an 'incredibly tough' year for nursing

Nurses putting on PPE in a ward.

A nurse from Hampshire who's been on the frontline during the last year has told ITV News Meridian how incredibly tough it has been working through the pandemic. 

On International Nurses Day, Shelley Pearce is one of many from the profession reflecting on how they coped with Covid.

She says the hardest part was not just the worry of the NHS being overwhelmed but also not knowing how best to treat people with the virus.

Shelley says: "Patients coming in, not being able to breathe, are going to need some support with that. We only have so many people that are qualified, are experience, and have the ability to nurse those patients safely.

"So there was not only the 'we're going to be overwhelmed' in case of numbers, but in lack of ability to provide the nursing care that is required...the level of care that's required."

And a Berkshire based health union is calling for nurses to be given more support to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

The Royal College of Nurses, based in Newbury, says the pandemic has pushed some workers to the limit both physically and mentally.

But despite the challenges, more people have been inspired to join the profession. The union says International Nurses Day is a time to reflect on the past twelve months.

Regional Director Patricia Marquis says: "It's brought us into the limelight and shown people the breadth of what nurses can do and how much contribution they make to the community and the health of the nation.

"It has increased the numbers who are interested and we are really hopeful those will translate into students and those students will translate into registered nurses in the future."

Elsewhere to celebrate International Nurses Day, staff at Basingstoke Hospital were treated to a surprise when local artist Hendog left a piece of tribute artwork outside.

Space was left blank for people to write their own messages of thanks to NHS staff.

International Nurses Day is a day to mark the contribution nurses make to society.

In particular this year, the day is to showcase how nurses have led patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.